The average UK worker now carries out approximately 22 days’ worth of overtime a year. Meanwhile, inflation is at a 40-year high of 10.1%, and real pay is dropping 2.8% – the fastest decline since records began in 2001.
In response, the trend of “quiet quitting” is emerging. This attitude encourages employees to fulfil their job duties without subscribing to “work is life” culture to guide their career and stand out to their managers.
The idea of putting in just enough effort to not get fired, but without going above and beyond, has a long history in the labour movement. A concept called “work to rule” has been used by workers around the world for centuries, and is a popular method of industrial action in the UK.
Historically, working to rule has been an effective – and legal – tool for unions to disrupt the operations of a company during trade disputes by slowing down operations. When the French railways were nationalised in 1938, strikes were forbidden. However, railway workers were aware that French law required engineers to assure the safety of any bridge over which the train passes.
If any doubt remained after a personal examination, the engineer had to consult other members of the train crew. Working to rule isn’t just about minimising workload,…